Greg's Blog

The Second Loneliest Moment of Jesus’ Life

by Greg Laurie on May 13, 2022

We never come to a point in our lives when we outgrow our need for prayer. If anything, we’ll see our need for more and more prayer.

We have a tremendous example of this when we read John’s Gospel and look at Jesus Himself praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus was in anguish and deep sorrow, so what did He do? He prayed.

Before He shed His precious blood on the cross, He experienced anguish and suffering in the garden. And He gave us an example of what we ought to do when it seems as though our world is ending.

Jesus’ Struggle

Chapter 18 of John gives us a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the personal struggle of Jesus as He contemplated the cup that He had to drink. In fact, the prophet Isaiah described Him as “a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3 NKJV).

The sorrow Jesus experienced in Gethsemane on the night before His crucifixion seemed to be the culmination of all the sorrow He had ever known, which then accelerated to a climax the following day.

I don’t think we can begin to grasp the anguish that Jesus experienced at this moment. Being omniscient, Jesus was fully aware of what lay ahead. It has been said that ignorance is bliss, and in some ways that is true. Jesus, being God, knew everything. And He knew that in just a few hours, He would be whipped and hung on a Roman cross.

He also knew that His disciple, Judas Iscariot, would betray Him, and another disciple, Simon Peter, would deny Him.

Jesus’ Loneliest Moment

Jesus knew that He would bear all the sins of the world. Next to His suffering on the cross itself, this was the loneliest moment of His life.

Gethsemane, on the Mount of Olives, was familiar terrain. Overlooking the city of Jerusalem, it was a place where Jesus had spent some time. But on this night, He came to the garden in anguish the disciples had never seen. And there in the garden as He prayed and suffered, Judas Iscariot arrived with the temple guard and Roman soldiers to arrest Him.

There’s a gap between the first two verses of John 18 that other gospel accounts fill in for us. Matthew’s Gospel tells us that Jesus singled out Peter, James, and John, and said, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me” (Matthew 26:38 NLT).

In other words, “I would like a little companionship right now.” I find that amazing. Jesus didn’t need a sermon or an explanation. He simply wanted Peter, James, and John to be there with Him in that time of conflict.

So, what did they do? They fell asleep.

And what did Jesus do? He prayed. Jesus was fully God and fully man, and here we are given a glimpse into His humanity. He prayed, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine” (Matthew 26:39 NLT).

Why was this so harsh and difficult for Jesus? He identified the spiritual battle that was raging at this moment when He said to those who came to arrest Him, “Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there every day. But this is your moment, the time when the power of darkness reigns” (Luke 22:53 NLT).

This was Hell’s hour. The devil was on something of a roll at this point. Everything was lining up. He had his betrayer in Judas and the cooperation of both the religious leaders and the civil authorities.

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